“The TURTLE ”
Portable Housefree Shelter
November 9, 2002 Written and conceived before cellphones were in common use. Local Program Ideas
“The TURTLE” is a portable housefree shelter which combines many technological devices in a
totally new way to help the user stay organized and stay connected within the framework of the local
The outline below presents “The TURTLE” in its community services arena, and in all likelihood,
many diverse programs will be developed to implement and facilitate its use.
Local human services strive to stay connected to low income people in their service area. Many times, the
funds available must be stretched to cover most people for basic survival food, and it is shelter that
people seek with desperation. Please consider the following scenario.
A man in his forties arrives in a town, hoping to gain employment but is turned away. In a few days,
he checks out of his motel room because he has been unable to find any work, and his cash supplies
are running low. He picked up a brochure at a temporary agency yesterday, and decides to give it a
try. “George” heads downtown on a bus, and finds the “pit stop for people”, as he has heard it called
on the street, which is a social services organization that helps people find employment, residences,
and other services. Conveniently located under a large office building, the front desk resembles a
small bank counter, with private conversation areas. George steps up to one, and a middle aged man
with a pleasant voice asks him “Do you want the WORKS?”
Well, replies George, I certainly want WORK but what is “the WORKS” ?
The works is a shower, toilet tokens, a locker key and a “TURTLE”. Of course, we also give you
directions to the places to eat, and a list of phone numbers you can call for medical, police,
social/mental services, legal advice, and current job openings.
That list won’t help me much if I can’t get to a phone, replies George.
Well, good thing there is a phone in “The Turtle” replied the man with a smile.
An hour later, George has had a shower, a tour of the locker room and has a clipon key ring with his
temporary home’s ID # on it. George leaves all his gear in his locker and heads to the dinner and
sleeping area, even though it is mid afternoon. He opens up “The Turtle” and goes inside, turns on
the radio for a weather report, and then starts calling the job listings for tomorrow. He finds 3 days
of work after a half dozen calls, and has time for a nap before dinner. He knows he will be at his
best tomorrow, and will arrive clean and rested, ready to work. This system could really help him
get a good job, as he has voice mail on “The Turtle” phone and he can get scheduled for office time
to get help making a resume and completing job applications.
Dinner is soup filled with fresh vegetables and high protein bread with your choice of sandwich
protein inside. George learns that the vegetables and bread are prepared on a nearby farm, where
people volunteer who don’t have work. The person who talked to him had actually become part of
the regular staff there, because she discovered she had an aptitude for farming. Knowing he has
three days of work, George signs up later to work on Sunday afternoon, and receives a bus pass to
the farming location. George uses one of his toilet tokens and notices that these toilets are available
to the public also. A sign in the bathroom tells how the toilets are maintained and cleaned, and
George heads back to the sleeping area and sees a local policeman with a bar code reader taking a
tally of those who were in this area. George knows he could sleep in a designated area of the park,
but there he
couldn’t do some things he likes to do. He could also sleep on private land anywhere someone
invited him to stay. He plays a few games of dominos before programming his clock for work and
shutting his lights out. George likes the privacy and warmth of “The TURTLE” and he likes
knowing that no one will roust him for ID in the night.
The local community likes the Turtle program because it is economical and allows the people a place
in the community by their registration when they are loaned their Turtle housing. Business owners
can get part time help who are clean and well fed, and available by phone. This plan helps the police force
with paperwork because their files are directly updated from the Turtle registration center. Police do
not have to question the homeless, because being homeless is not a crime. If the police need to
search for someone, they can just scan the ID numbers on the Turtle backs, rather than checking
Also, local businesses were happy to share costs of building public toilets, as it cut their
maintenance, and their staffing and security duties. The public loved not having to beg for a
bathroom, and the low cost per use paid for the cleaning.
“The TURTLE ” Portable Housefree Shelter
Brief description of some functions available. All functions can be employed to the best advantage
to facilitate the abilities of the individual humans. This shelter is lightweight and folds up into a
backpack form which allows it to be carried. The backpack will be used by most shelters.
The primary function of “The Turtle” is a secure sleeping shelter. Even while being carried, it
provides sun and/or rain shelter for the wearer, and the solar panels on top store energy to be used
for the radio, phone, fans, and ID memory files.
Some sort of shelter system is going to be necessary as more and more people are homeless, and funds are
at the present time, quite stretched. In addition, if this product was being manufactured, there would be a
fair-sized market for these units, and licensing the sale of such units would help to pay for the units for the
Some communities think they can avoid “the homeless problem” but that is rarely the case. It will
be a distinct advantage to have the populations of our towns and cities well cared for.
Copyright 2002 – 2016 ongoing
Used by permission March 2016